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Are childhood socio-economic circumstances related to coronary heart disease risk? Findings from a population-based study of older men

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sheena Ramsay


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Background: The independent influence of childhood social circumstances on health in later life remains uncertain. We examined the extent to which childhood socioeconomic circumstances are related to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in older British men, taking account of adult social class and behavioural risk factors. Methods: A socio-economically representative sample of 5552 British men (52-74 years) with retrospective assessment of childhood socio-economic circumstances (father's occupation and childhood household amenities) who were followed up for CHD (fatal and non-fatal) for 12 years. Results: Men whose childhood social class was manual had an increased hazard ratio (HR) 1.34 (95% CI 1.11-1.63) - this effect was diminished when adjusted for adult social class and adult behavioural risk factors (cigarette smoking, alcohol, physical activity and body weight) (HR 1.19; 95% CI 0.97-1.46). Men whose family did not own a car in their childhood were at increased CHD risk even after adjustments for adult social class and behaviours (HR 1.35, 95% CI 1.04-1.75). Men with combined exposure to both childhood and adult manual social class had the highest risk of CHD (HR 1.51; 95% CI 1.19-1.91); this was substantially reduced by adjustment for adult behavioural risk factors (adjusted HR 1.28; 95% CI 0.99-1.65). Conclusions: Less affluent socio-economic conditions in childhood may have a modest persisting influence on risk of CHD in later life. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association © The Author 2007; all rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ramsay SE, Whincup PH, Morris RW, Lennon LT, Wannamethee SG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Epidemiology

Year: 2007

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 560-566

Print publication date: 01/06/2007

Online publication date: 17/04/2007

ISSN (print): 0300-5771

ISSN (electronic): 1464-3685

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ije/dym060

PubMed id: 17440028


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